According to the Yorkshire Building Society, around a fifth (19%) of UK adults have less than £100 in savings. Having a savings pot is an insurance against hard times and unexpected costs. There is also evidence to show that managing your money well is good for your mental health.
The good news is that a few simple practices can help you keep track of your money and maybe even save a few pounds for a rainy day.
- Use a budgeting sheet
The first thing to put you back in control of your money is a budget sheet. Note down your income and how much you have going out (your expenditure) each month.
At the end of the month, it’s important to review your spending; this will allow you to see where your money is going and enable you to make any changes needed for next month.
Check out Habinteg’s budget sheet template.
- Categorise your expenses
If you group your expenses into food, clothing, travel, etc., it’ll be clear if you overspend on a particular area.
You could find that impulse buys at the shopping centre cost you a lot. Or maybe you’ll realise you’re paying for recurring subscription services that you could do without.
Whatever it may be, this is undoubtedly a sure-fire way to cut back on unnecessary spending.
- Check your subscriptions
The average UK household spends £265 per year on subscriptions they don’t use. Check your phone, your bank account and your credit cards and list all your subscriptions. Do you need them all?
- Set up a separate spending account
It might be a good idea to have one account where all your recurring bills are paid, including rent, energy bills and Wi-Fi.
Then have another account, which you pay a certain amount into every month that you use for spending money.
This way, you know that all the essentials will always be taken care of, and the money in the second account is ‘fun money’. You’ll know you have to dial back on spending when the balance gets low.
- The envelope method
This is more of an unorthodox tactic to save and track money. Nonetheless, it’s straightforward and effective.
The “envelope method” is a more detailed, old-fashion approach to a separate spending account. You would divide your money into different spending categories — bills, petrol, groceries etc. Once you had decided how much you need to spend on each category, place that amount of cash into an envelope and write the category on the envelope.
You could only spend the cash in that envelope for that category's bills or purchases.
Of course, withdrawing and keeping envelopes of cash around the house isn’t a great idea in the 21st century. However, many banking apps will allow you to do the same thing digitally: setting spending limits for different types of purchases.
If you feel like you spend a lot of money on cabs, for example, set aside an amount you think is reasonable to splurge on cabs in an envelope and when your virtual envelope is empty, take the bus or the train.
This allows you to be disciplined with your spending and be realistic with the amount you can spend.
Visit the Tenant News section at www.habinteg.org.uk/tenant-news for more money-saving tips.